In hiring Barry Bonds as their hitting coach earlier this month, the Miami Marlins brought back to the dugout one of the sport's all-time great players, a guy who is known as much for his hitting prowess as he is for allegations of PED use. Now the Nationals will see Bonds quite often each year as members of the NL East division.
Despite Bonds' reputation among many fans of baseball as an alleged cheater, he still remains a popular figure in the sport. And his presence on the Marlins is something several Nats players are looking forward to as competitors and students of the game.
"They're lucky. That's the best hitter I've ever seen in my life," Bryce Harper said.
"He is somebody that mentally just had it. Every time he got into that box, it was just impressive to see. When I was younger I didn't really know much about it, how he was so good at walks and seeing pitches and stuff like that. But the older i've got, I've been able to see that. It's incredible what he did in this game and to see mentally what he did against pitchers. How he did it, how he walked, if he got one pitch then he hit it a mile. They're very lucky to be able to learn from somebody that. The Marlins are definitely fortunate and good for him to get back in the game."
Jayson Werth actually played against Bonds early in his career when he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is happy to see the seven-time MVP back in baseball with a full-time gig.
"It's exciting. He was one of my favorite players growing up before I got to the big leagues and then obviously playing against him was pretty special. I saw some pretty cool things. I've got some pretty cool Barry Bonds stories. Having him back in the game and in the division, it will be fun to see him. He's another guy you like playing against. He's a worthy adversary, as I call it. Obviously his numbers and what he did in the game speak for themselves. I'm a fan of him. I've been a fan of Barry Bonds and always will be," Werth explained.
Werth ended up sharing one of those stories he alluded to:
"I've got two really good ones, so I'll give you one. We go in there for a four-game series in  when we were with the Dodgers and we were in a pennant race where it came down to the second-to-last day of the season. Huge rivalry, obviously. We go in there for four games and our manager, Jim Tracy, he was adamant that we were not going to throw him a strike. So, for the first two games he didn't see a strike. He got intentionally walked and walked. The third day he didn't play. And then the fourth day, it was either his third or fourth at-bat, so he hasn't seen a strike in four days, right? Not one. I think it was a 1-0 count and he took the first strike he saw for a homer into the bay. It was impressive. That was one of the more impressive things I've seen. I don't even know if it was a strike, but he still hit it out. I saw him when I was coming into the league and he was going out, but he was still Barry Bonds when I played against him. He was good."